Clouds could vanish from Earth within a generation

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#1 Posted by qx0d (333 posts) -

https://www.oregonlive.com/environment/2019/02/cloud-free-skies-will-emerge-from-climate-change-leading-to-disastrous-feedback-loop-study.html

https://theweek.com/speedreads/825688/terrifying-new-climate-study-finds-clouds-could-vanish-from-earth-within-generation

When global warming really gets rolling, it will mean fewer clouds in the sky -- until, finally, there are no clouds at all anymore.

The result of a cloudless Earth: a blisteringly hot hellscape that will make the planet’s remaining species wish they were dead. See a brief epoch from 55 million years ago called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Digging into newly published academic research, Quanta magazine senior writer Natalie Wolchover has broken down what it will mean when “CO2-flooded air” becomes the new normal.

[C]omputer simulations of clouds have begun to suggest that as the Earth warms, clouds become scarcer,” she writes. “With fewer white surfaces reflecting sunlight back to space, the Earth gets even warmer, leading to more cloud loss. This feedback loop causes warming to spiral out of control.”

In the models, clouds start to head for the exit en masse when CO2 in the atmosphere pokes above 1,200 parts per million. Wolchover points out that, “under ‘business-as-usual’ emissions scenarios,” we’ll reach that point in about 100 years.

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#2 Posted by GTR12 (13477 posts) -

100 years...? LOL

I don't care, I'll be dead.

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#3 Edited by uninspiredcup (33717 posts) -

Every-time I turn on the news we are getting threatenedwith imminent demise. From "everything will give you cancer", to "the world will end".

At some point you stop caring.

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#4 Posted by Ovirew (9083 posts) -

...But he'll always be a part of the lifestream.

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#6 Posted by Volsung (261 posts) -

A generation is more around the line of 20-25 years.

Which is a shame too, because I want to be able to point upwards and scream look! look! LOOK!!!!!!!! at deniers.

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#7 Posted by CrimsonBrute (25390 posts) -
@GTR12 said:

100 years...? LOL

I don't care, I'll be dead.

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#8 Posted by Serraph105 (33855 posts) -

Couldn't we use cloud making machines and the ocean to counteract this?

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#9 Posted by Jacanuk (18611 posts) -
@GTR12 said:

100 years...? LOL

I don't care, I'll be dead.

Hmm, if you are between 16 and 28 a 100years is plausible you will be around to experience :)

But these doomsday predictions are so fun and also usually so wrong.

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#10 Posted by Horgen (120625 posts) -

@Serraph105 said:

Couldn't we use cloud making machines and the ocean to counteract this?

Why not just paint the roads white as well? :P

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#11 Posted by CrimsonBrute (25390 posts) -
@horgen said:
@Serraph105 said:

Couldn't we use cloud making machines and the ocean to counteract this?

Why not just paint the roads white as well? :P

And drop giant ice cubes in the ocean.

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#12 Posted by Horgen (120625 posts) -

@crimsonbrute said:
@horgen said:
@Serraph105 said:

Couldn't we use cloud making machines and the ocean to counteract this?

Why not just paint the roads white as well? :P

And drop giant ice cubes in the ocean.

Futurama. We gotta watch Futurama for the answers.

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#13 Posted by CrimsonBrute (25390 posts) -

@horgen: and thus solving the problem once and for all.

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#14 Edited by Volsung (261 posts) -
@Jacanuk said:
@GTR12 said:

100 years...? LOL

I don't care, I'll be dead.

Hmm, if you are between 16 and 28 a 100years is plausible you will be around to experience :)

and even if you're not alive, people that you care about will be

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#15 Posted by Serraph105 (33855 posts) -

@crimsonbrute said:

@horgen: and thus solving the problem once and for all.

Futurama is fun, but I really think GeoHacking is something we are going to continuosly looking to for solutions on climate change. It's definitely not ideal, and darkly comical that we will have allowed things to get so bad that we have to create machines that radically change the earth, but I think it will be a huge thing that we do to solve problems in the future.

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#16 Posted by hrt_rulz01 (18997 posts) -

@GTR12: That's a great mentality to have...

<insert eyeroll>

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#17 Posted by VFighter (5028 posts) -

Read as sarcastically as possible please...Ugggghhhhhh...

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#18 Edited by XVision84 (16252 posts) -

I like how, as you get farther from the actual published research, the hyperboles begin to pile up and less relevant research data is included.

The research uses new models that are supposedly more accurate than the global models used prior. The researchers themselves acknowledge that their knowledge of the situation is lacking when accounting for what might occur on a global scale. Numerous assumptions were also made in calculation of the "100 year" CO2 ppm approximation (roughly triple what we have today) and stratocumulus clouds did return in the model when CO2 emissions fell below 300 ppm (which is admittedly low but why are they saying irreversible? I might be missing something here).

I'm not discounting the data because it was made by researchers far more knowledgeable than me on the subject and attempts to simulate more accurately. However, we need to stop the imminent doomsday fear mongering by taking uncertain scientific data and running with it.

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#19 Posted by with_teeth26 (9558 posts) -

these news articles are nonsense.

Stratocumulus are only one type of cloud. they aren't even responsible for rain - only clouds with "nimbus" in the name are. the scientific article is only talking about Stratocumulus so the headlines of these articles are insanely misleading.

the actual findings from the scientific article itself are still concerning but this is a case of horrible science reporting.

generally, more storms should be expected with climate change, and storms have clouds...

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#20 Posted by GTR12 (13477 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:
@GTR12 said:

100 years...? LOL

I don't care, I'll be dead.

Hmm, if you are between 16 and 28 a 100years is plausible you will be around to experience :)

I'm 29, and no-way will I live to 129, anything over 85-90 and I will commit suicide, no-way do I want to become a potato reliant on machines to live.

@hrt_rulz01 said:

@GTR12: That's a great mentality to have...

<insert eyeroll>

I'm serious, at the rate we are using resources now, we wont have an earth in 100 years.

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#21 Posted by hrt_rulz01 (18997 posts) -

@GTR12: So even though we still have time to change things or atleast limit the damage, we should all just think "fu*k it"?

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#22 Posted by GTR12 (13477 posts) -

@hrt_rulz01 said:

@GTR12: So even though we still have time to change things or atleast limit the damage, we should all just think "fu*k it"?

Its too late to change things, unless we ALL go back to pre-1920's life when vehicle's were rare and minor tech, we cant fix anything, we've done far too much damage.

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#23 Posted by DEVILinIRON (4865 posts) -

100 years is some good time to build the next Ark. It'll be a spaceship this time.

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#24 Edited by hrt_rulz01 (18997 posts) -

@GTR12: We've done a lot of damage no doubt, but we can definitely limit the damage if we start to get out act together... especially in terms of climate change. We have to limit the damage for future generations.

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#25 Posted by Gaming-Planet (19966 posts) -

In 2000, when I was just a lil kid, they told me the world would be flooded in 10 years.

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#26 Edited by Jacanuk (18611 posts) -
@GTR12 said:

I'm 29, and no-way will I live to 129, anything over 85-90 and I will commit suicide, no-way do I want to become a potato reliant on machines to live.

I'm serious, at the rate we are using resources now, we wont have an earth in 100 years.

Ahh, well 129 is within reach I have heard but you need to live healthy and don´t eat meat, sugar, gluten, bread, non-bread, veggies etc. etc. etc to save the environment. :D

But I am with you there, over 80 and I will take a trip to Switzerland :)

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#27 Posted by br0kenrabbit (16077 posts) -
@Gaming-Planet said:

In 2000, when I was just a lil kid, they told me the world would be flooded in 10 years.

I was already post-college and married in 2000, so I'm pretty sure I was more aware than you, and I don't remember anyone saying this.

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#28 Posted by Gaming-Planet (19966 posts) -
@br0kenrabbit said:
@Gaming-Planet said:

In 2000, when I was just a lil kid, they told me the world would be flooded in 10 years.

I was already post-college and married in 2000, so I'm pretty sure I was more aware than you, and I don't remember anyone saying this.

I'm being hyperbolic but it was how global warming would rise the water and that New York could be under water in about 10 years. Water has risen in some places, especially Louisiana.

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#29 Posted by br0kenrabbit (16077 posts) -

@Gaming-Planet said:

I'm being hyperbolic but it was how global warming would rise the water and that New York could be under water in about 10 years. Water has risen in some places, especially Louisiana.

I still don't recall any '10 year' quote, and I've been paying attention. The most I ever heard was 'by the end of this century' (post-2000).

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#30 Posted by mrbojangles25 (44045 posts) -

@crimsonbrute said:

@horgen: and thus solving the problem once and for all.

but...

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#31 Edited by KungfuKitten (26659 posts) -

How does that work? So with more heat, more water evaporates. But it doesn't form clouds because the air in the upper layers is not cool enough?

I previously heard that the problem was going to be too many clouds, so that the warmth will be kept where we live instead of radiating out.

I'm not a climatologist, clearly XD

Either way, that doesn't sound too great. I'm not good at handling heat. Last summer I fainted because of the warmth, and airconditioning is very expensive.

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#32 Posted by comp_atkins (35747 posts) -

time to build those space mirrors

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#33 Posted by Horgen (120625 posts) -

@mrbojangles25 said:
@crimsonbrute said:

@horgen: and thus solving the problem once and for all.

but...

We don't need you anti-Futurama guys here. :P It's quite clear they have the answers.

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#34 Posted by mrbojangles25 (44045 posts) -

@KungfuKitten said:

How does that work? So with more heat, more water evaporates. But it doesn't form clouds because the air in the upper layers is not cool enough?

I previously heard that the problem was going to be too many clouds, so that the warmth will be kept where we live instead of radiating out.

I'm not a climatologist, clearly XD

Either way, that doesn't sound too great. I'm not good at handling heat. Last summer I fainted because of the warmth, and airconditioning is very expensive.

I think we will enter an era of too many clouds. We will call it The Great Fogging.

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#35 Posted by with_teeth26 (9558 posts) -
@KungfuKitten said:

How does that work? So with more heat, more water evaporates. But it doesn't form clouds because the air in the upper layers is not cool enough?

I previously heard that the problem was going to be too many clouds, so that the warmth will be kept where we live instead of radiating out.

I'm not a climatologist, clearly XD

Either way, that doesn't sound too great. I'm not good at handling heat. Last summer I fainted because of the warmth, and airconditioning is very expensive.

basically the warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold before it condenses into clouds.

I'd heard about the increased cloud cover theory as well. Clouds have two effects, they insulate the air beneath and prevent the surface from cooling at night, but thicker clouds are white on top which means they have a higher albedo and reflect sunlight so it doesn't reach the surface of the earth. So you could say clouds have a moderating effect on the climate. with clouds you'll get lower daytime highs and higher night time lows if that makes sense.

I think this article is talking about a specific type of cloud that forms over the ocean. The ocean acts a bit differently since it absorbs heat during the day but retains it more at night rather than the heat diffusing into the atmosphere like it does on land. So I think the implication is the reduction in this specific type of cloud cover might result in a bit of an increase in ocean warming which is a major part of climate change. what I don't understand is how CO2 particles play into the formation or scattering of clouds.

I'm not a climatologist either but I wanted to become a meteorologist at one point and took a bunch of university level courses, and still remember some stuff at least lol

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#36 Posted by nepu7supastar7 (5108 posts) -

@qx0d:

I'll be dead by then. *shrugs*

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#37 Posted by tenaka2 (17188 posts) -

Nice, think of how sunny it will be!

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#38 Edited by CrimsonBrute (25390 posts) -
@mrbojangles25 said:
@crimsonbrute said:

@horgen: and thus solving the problem once and for all.

but...

https://external-preview.redd.it/2qA7iWTT4-pP00m8JiIdNjHplWz1hw8FTzphgdZLBxY.jpg?width=640&auto=webp&s=77eac34a84d08814a11fbb295562b23987a35dbc

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#39 Posted by realistic44 (8245 posts) -

Remember when folks said the world would end in 2012 :O

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#40 Edited by Zaryia (9058 posts) -
@realistic44 said:

Remember when folks said the world would end in 2012 :O

Was there peer reviewed studies showing that? :P

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#41 Posted by KungfuKitten (26659 posts) -

@with_teeth26 said:
@KungfuKitten said:

How does that work? So with more heat, more water evaporates. But it doesn't form clouds because the air in the upper layers is not cool enough?

I previously heard that the problem was going to be too many clouds, so that the warmth will be kept where we live instead of radiating out.

I'm not a climatologist, clearly XD

Either way, that doesn't sound too great. I'm not good at handling heat. Last summer I fainted because of the warmth, and airconditioning is very expensive.

basically the warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold before it condenses into clouds.

I'd heard about the increased cloud cover theory as well. Clouds have two effects, they insulate the air beneath and prevent the surface from cooling at night, but thicker clouds are white on top which means they have a higher albedo and reflect sunlight so it doesn't reach the surface of the earth. So you could say clouds have a moderating effect on the climate. with clouds you'll get lower daytime highs and higher night time lows if that makes sense.

I think this article is talking about a specific type of cloud that forms over the ocean. The ocean acts a bit differently since it absorbs heat during the day but retains it more at night rather than the heat diffusing into the atmosphere like it does on land. So I think the implication is the reduction in this specific type of cloud cover might result in a bit of an increase in ocean warming which is a major part of climate change. what I don't understand is how CO2 particles play into the formation or scattering of clouds.

I'm not a climatologist either but I wanted to become a meteorologist at one point and took a bunch of university level courses, and still remember some stuff at least lol

Cool. That's interesting. Thank you for explaining that.

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#42 Posted by Jackamomo (2156 posts) -

No scientist has even the slightest idea about weather or global warming.

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#43 Posted by poptart (7263 posts) -

@jackamomo said:

No scientist has even the slightest idea about weather or global warming.

It always amazes me when 0% chance of rain is predicted, and then it rains, like there was some low flying rogue cloud that went undetected by all of the seaweed hanging up in the met office.

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#44 Posted by with_teeth26 (9558 posts) -
@poptart said:
@jackamomo said:

No scientist has even the slightest idea about weather or global warming.

It always amazes me when 0% chance of rain is predicted, and then it rains, like there was some low flying rogue cloud that went undetected by all of the seaweed hanging up in the met office.

the problem is most weather forecasts are automated and based on global models that don't always take local weather-altering features into account

if you can find a good local meteorologist who has worked in the area for a long time you should be able to get more accurate forecasts, but even they will get it wrong sometimes.

Jacka's statement is hyperbolic but not completely incorrect, weather/climate is insanely complicated with a huge number of variables, so I don't think anyone really knows what is going to happen with climate change.

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#45 Posted by poptart (7263 posts) -

@with_teeth26 said:
@poptart said:
@jackamomo said:

No scientist has even the slightest idea about weather or global warming.

It always amazes me when 0% chance of rain is predicted, and then it rains, like there was some low flying rogue cloud that went undetected by all of the seaweed hanging up in the met office.

the problem is most weather forecasts are automated and based on global models that don't always take local weather-altering features into account

if you can find a good local meteorologist who has worked in the area for a long time you should be able to get more accurate forecasts, but even they will get it wrong sometimes.

Jacka's statement is hyperbolic but not completely incorrect, weather/climate is insanely complicated with a huge number of variables, so I don't think anyone really knows what is going to happen with climate change.

Michael Fish apologist?

Its understandable that you can’t make a sure fire predication as to what the weather’s going to do, however if there’s any doubt at least give it a 5% chance of rain to cover your arse…

Anyway…

I love weather.

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#46 Edited by Jackamomo (2156 posts) -

@poptart: I don't know about anywhere else but the weather forecast in England is, I assume, still cast as a kind of running joke.

It didn't stop the government spending £(insert ridiculous sum here) on a new set of pc's for the Bristol Met office., giving the facility a brand new world class supercomputer that will continue to make stupid guesses about as accurate as an old England seer and some pig entrails.

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#47 Posted by poptart (7263 posts) -

@jackamomo said:

@poptart: I don't know about anywhere else but the weather forecast in England is, I assume, still cast as a kind of running joke.

It didn't stop the government spending £(insert ridiculous sum here) on a new set of pc's for the Bristol Met office., giving the facility a brand new world class supercomputer that will continue to make stupid guesses about as accurate as an old England seer and some pig entrails.

It was the same in Oz - probably worse as you can get a fair bit of variance in one day, however with our propensity to open every conversation commenting on the weather, its only natural we're attuned to how misguided the forecast is over in the UK. Bristol eh? Being well hipster here I would have thought they would at the very least use macs :/

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#48 Edited by Jackamomo (2156 posts) -

@poptart: Bristol Met office is one of the 25 most powerful computers in the world and calculates weather data for the whole country.

Met Office Supercomputer
Met Office Supercomputer

Not that it's a complete waste of money.

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/technology/supercomputer

[edit] It's in Exeter not Bristol.

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#49 Posted by EvanTheGamer (1531 posts) -

Mah clouds!!!!